I sat in front of a sorority woman, determined to inspire her to lead a bible study in her chapter. I pulled out the story of the paralytic man. We read the story, observed it, and began to interpret what it would have meant to the original hearers.
Teary-eyed, she said, “I need to stop sleeping with my boyfriend.”
I scanned the passage. I reread it. I had prepared multiple questions about the text that would help us to see that Jesus chose to heal the paralytic man because of the four men’s faith and that he had the authority to heal the body to forgive sins. My questions were carefully crafted to lead us into the application that our faith could heal our friends and we could use a bible study to bring people to Jesus' feet.
Her response did not follow the agenda I had prepared.
Determined to gain control of the appointment, I said, “Yes, that is a great idea. And I would love to come back to that point. But where in the passage do you see that?” She said, “I feel like you’ve continually brought me to Jesus’ feet. And Jesus keeps telling me my sins are forgiven. But I keep not believing him. But if I really am healed, I could stop sleeping with my boyfriend. I could choose to follow God. And maybe if I chose to believe I’m forgiven, I could bring my friends to Jesus’ feet.”
I had come to that appointment with a purpose. I wanted her to hear from God that she was called into mission – to be a light in her sorority. But Jesus wanted more for her. He wanted to meet her.
Even though we have a plethora of Christian tools, scripture is still the best way to become a disciple. Scripture allows us to know God, to be formed by him and gives us a tool to speak truth to lies.
Know God More Fully
The meta-story of the Bible paints a picture of a God who lovingly seeks after us. Throughout the 66 different books, different authors tell different audiences about a God who loves his people, is a protector, has fulfilled numerous promises and so much more. The descriptions of God have given rise to beautiful poems about his goodness.
Many of us don’t know God. We don’t understand how he can be both just and loving. We can’t grasp how his wrath is good or how he is our rescuer. He seems like a mystery. But he has given us the tools through scripture to know him.
By spending time in scripture, we get the opportunity to know God. Having an intimate relationship with God allows us to be his disciples.
Molded by God
The ministry that I work for – InterVarsity Christian Fellowship - is known for its amazing resources. We are continually coming out with new models, paradigms, and tools to reach out to more college students.
Throughout my tenure, I’ve learned how to use these tools to develop young minds and structure activities that help college students grow.
And while all of that is good, God wants more for his children.
Jesus wants more. He wants disciples. To become disciples, we need to put ourselves at Jesus' feet. We need to allow Jesus to mold our hearts and our minds. We don’t need just to know what it means to be a Christian; we need to have the strength to follow him into a holistic loving relationship.
Scripture gives Jesus the ability to mold our hearts so that we can be his disciple. Through scripture, God shapes us into men and women who are following him.
Tool Against the Lies
The lies of the enemy clamor about our world demanding attention. Scripture is a sword that cuts through all the noise so that we can hear the truth.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul warns of the dangers around us and encourages us to put on the armor of God: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand…Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Spiritual forces use lies, manipulation and seduction to keep us from God. Scripture is the tool that allows us to answer each lie with the truth of God’s love. Scripture is a bright light that is constantly pushing back the darkness.
The bible is not just an antiquated book. It is the living Word, which God uses to create disciples.